• Ali Brown

NEW - The Latest on the Publication of Azraelle

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

It was during a networking meeting that I met Deborah Sykes who is a mental wellbeing coach. This led to an exciting collaborative project that is now at go for launch.

Deborah recognised the need for a means by which children and young adults could be helped to cope with loss, at this ever so poignant time in many of our lives. Soon after she approached me to come on board to add the combination of hand painted and digital illustrations.

‘Azraelle Angel of Life and Death’ is a colliding of beautifully written words by Deborah and ethereal illustrations that has been brought to life to help with the grieving process. Now published as of August 30th, National Grief Awareness Day in the UK, this little gem of a book brings soothing comfort to anyone lost in their own grief.

Azraelle took many forms before she came to life, the above being an early example of the roughly painted sketch using gouache on watercolour paper. The process to take this to the finished cover involved photographing the artwork, being that scans made the watercolour paper look dirty, and cleaning up digitally before adding further elements which were hand drawn in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator combined. Next came adjustments the the eyes and mouth and tiny tweaks here and there.

Deborah was very specific about the kind of character that I needed to create. She was to be inclusive and inviting, of darker skin tone and with white robes. The challenge was to keep the illustration light without it looking too cartoon like. This was not to be a book of doom and gloom at all and required some elements of reality due to the subject matter - a tricky one but very rewarding to work on.

At most stages the starting point was the hand drawn and painted elements but in just a few of the pages I went all out digital to give that hint of mystery and wonder. Working with layer upon layer to build up the scene. Some pages were 40 or more layers once complete.

Early feedback is that each page brings a different emotion with an overall feeling of soothing and comfort, which is exactly the spot that this little gorgeous book should hit. Aimed at supporting parents to help children and young adults we have found that it has become a book for all ages already, a keepsake, and something to treasure.

I am thrilled to have been involved in this project, which reflects a more traditional side of my illustrative work to complement the digital artwork that has become the staple of my business of late.

Available at Foyles, Waterstones and on Amazon this could well be the start of an interesting series.

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